Host Anastasia Bucsis, Two-time Canadian Olympic speedskater, brings her unique backstory to funny, friendly conversations with high performance athletes. No formulaic jock talk here ... these are buddies who understand each other, and help us do the same.
Catriona Le May Doan, Chef de Mission
Winter Olympics are unique for Canadian sports fans. They are one of the rare sweet spots, where national pride reliably lines up with winning results. We can swagger, a little, with apologies, when the games of snow and ice are underway. And maybe, with the Beijing Winter Olympics' fast approach, there's call to celebrate early. Catriona Le May Doan has just been named Chef de Mission for 2022. A reminder of what the speedskater accomplished as an athlete: For about five years, around the turn of the millennium, Le May Doan was the one sprinter no one could catch. She actually broke the record for breaking records! She's the only woman ever to set eight consecutive World Records in one distance.
So with three Olympic medals around her neck, including back-to-back golds from 1998 and 2002, Catriona Le May Doan brings a lived experience of winning to her new role. She's also an author, hall of famer, and Order of Canada recipient. It would seem to be an understatement to say Canada's current crop of winter athletes are in good hands. Player's Own Voice Podcast host (and fellow speedskater) Anastasia Bucsis draws Catriona Le May Doan into friendly and funny talk about the road ahead for Team Canada, strategies for safe sport, and also some gentle ribbing about Le May Doan's mature passion for league hockey. Spoiler alert: nobody beats her to the puck, ever, but her stick work? Umm, next question please.
Kia Nurse: making sense of sport's strangest year
No matter how sporty your family happens to be, Kia Nurse has you beat. CFL dad, high performance basketball mom, brother in the NHL, cousin in the PWHPA… and Kia herself, professional and Canadian national team basketball star. When the Nurse family gets together, there isn’t much about the big leagues that they can’t discuss from first-hand knowledge. Which gives Kia the unique perspective from which to consider one of the weirdest years that professional sport has ever seen. From the logistical triumphs and setbacks of the ‘bubble’ seasons, to the Tetris puzzle of building teams amid anything but normal schedules, it has been one for the history books. Amid this year’s upheaval though, one constant remained: the WNBA stayed at the vanguard of social justice causes. Kia Nurse explains how and why her league has normalized good wages and benefits, and standing up against racial, and many other forms of injustice.
Sizing up Soccer's future with Karina LeBlanc
As goaltender for the national team, Karina LeBlanc was part of the generation that put Canadian soccer on the world map. Olympic medals, World cup expectations, the sky’s the limit. But for LeBlanc, it was never just about the play on the pitch. Even in the big wins- her team aimed beyond the game of the day. The really big idea is to make women’s football a force for global change. Helping young women, particularly, assess themselves in a new light, once they get the chance to participate in the world’s game.
Since becoming Head of CONCACAF Women’s Football, LeBlanc has had the privilege and pleasure to see it happen again and again in the 41 countries that represent the FIFA association. A shy girl comes to the pitch for her first time, and within a few hours, sees herself as a player, with all the confidence, enthusiasm and strength that goes with it. Player’s Own Voice podcast host Anastasia Bucsis leads Karina LeBlanc through a refreshingly optimistic conversation about a career in sports that even now still feels like the best is yet to come.
A roadmap for the rollercoaster with COC president Tricia Smith
The President of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Tricia Smith has presided over a four year - and counting - cycle for which there is no precedent. Smith was at the helm when Canada put athlete's health ahead of 'compete at any cost' thinking, which helped tip the international decision to delay the Tokyo games. But this pandemic year is certainly not Smith's first experience with interrupted games. Looking back to the boycott years in the 1980s, while she was an Olympic rower, Tricia Smith says the important thing to do now is remember the purpose behind the Olympic games. More than ever, she wants to renew efforts to keep politics out of the Olympics. The lawyer, businesswoman, and long serving defender of institutions that promote fairness in sport looks back over her 35 years in the Olympic movement and sees a mostly good, but still mixed bag of results. Gender equity would appear to be a winning battle. Inclusion for more athletes who come from less wealthy backgrounds? That's still a work in progress.
Anastasia Bucsis, host of CBC Sports' Player's Own Voice podcast, leads the conversation through a friendly review of a long strange year indeed.
Malindi Elmore roars back into record books, ten years later
Malindi Elmore is either Canada's greatest gift to mature athletes, or she's yet another taunting for every runner who is racing the calendar more than the clock. In January of this year, the now 40 year-old mother of two shattered the Canadian Marathon record, running 2:24:50 in Houston. While endurance running fans were letting that sink in, even more amazing facts emerged. This was only the second marathon Elmore had ever run. An even more unlikely detail: she was done with running, burned out, disillusioned, finished, fully ten years earlier. So how does a decade-retired middle distance runner smash a national endurance record? On Player's Own Voice podcast today, Elmore says the secret was in really truly no longer caring about the results. As soon as she started running for her own pleasure, on her own program, with her own young family in the mix, her times started to plummet. She's qualified for the Tokyo Olympics now too, sixteen years after she competed in the 1500m in Athens.
Leon Draisaitl takes top honours
The NHLPA and the hockey writers association are in full agreement: Leon Draisaitl is the best player in the league this year. With Hart and Ted Lindsay trophies in his collection now, the superstar from Cologne, via Prince Albert ( and how many people follow that route to stardom?) is reflecting on the circumstances of winning individual honours, while his Oilers fell out of the Stanley Cup running sooner than anyone might have expected.
In sum, Draisaitl is grateful for the accolades, but he’d trade them in a second for an Edmonton cup.
Draisaitl joined Player’s Own Voice host Anastasia Bucsis from Germany, where he is both training and relaxing. In a topsy-turvy period for the seasons of all professional sports, Draisaitl can say with certainty that when the call comes to get back to play, ‘you better be ready’.
Two thumbs up
Great personal stories, love the host!
If you participate, follow or simply enjoy amateur sport, this podcast is for you. The host has really grown on me and I love her questions and playful demeanor. The guests are also those whom you may not have always heard of, but always learn something from.
Today’s podcast with Jessica Tuomela was outstanding She is charming and articulate. I appreciated how she was allowed to relate her story with minimal interruption.